Spent another wet and humid Sunday in Adventure Alley – Kent Street Sydney. I’ve not enjoyed running around trying on shoes, clothes and packs during this really humid weather we’ve had over the past few weeks. Many of the stores don’t have good air conditioning (or none at all) and are generally pretty unpleasant. When it usually rains late in the afternoon it doesn’t bring relief – just makes it more sticky!
I finally decided on some hiking boots. After weeks of trying on pretty much everything in every store – I found a pair of boots that fit my wide feet, and are comfortable. I ended up with the Hi-Tec V-Lite Fasthike Mid WP – a mid-cut waterproof boot that was comfortable straight away – always a good sign for boots. I don’t normally like mid-cut boots, I find them uncomfortable around the ankles. These boots were surprisingly comfortable, with both comfortable ankle support and very little slippage (which usually don’t go together).
There was only one small problem – I was finding that they cut into the back of my leg above the ankle – very unpleasant. I spent quite a bit of time playing with the way I had done them up to see if I could get them stop the pain – that’s one good thing about spending all this time trying on shoes and boots – I’ve learned quite a bit about various techniques you can use to tie boots and the effect they each have on the fit and feel of the boot. Anyway, I was able to find a technique that worked, so the decision was made. I think the entire staff at Paddy Pallins cheered – we have almost become part of the family after spending nearly every Sunday in the store over the past few weeks.
After heading in to QVB and the Myer Centre food court for some lunch, we walked back down to Trek & Travel to try some travel packs. I had previously tried the 80L long One Planet Longreach pack and liked the Exact Fit harness. I wanted to try something a bit smaller, since I was sure 80L was overkill.
I had tested our size requirements by collecting all the gear and clothes I thought I would take (with substitutions for items we hadn’t yet bought) and put them all into one of our Samsonite bags – which I measured at close to 50L. It was a comfortable fit, so I figured 60L was probably sufficient for our needs.
I first tried the 60L One Planet Tom Thumb pack with the Mini Plus harness, but couldn’t get it to fit comfortably. So I tried the 70L medium One Planet Longreach – but it was too short in the body (my physio has commented on my unusually long spine). So it was back to the 80L long version of the Longreach.
The girl in the store left me alone with the fitting instructions in front of the mirror (so I could find the straps with the pack on my back!) and I spent some time working through the steps to get a correct fitting. It was a useful exercise – I now have a much better understanding of the complexity of harness fitting, and of the flexibility of the One Planet Exact Fit harness! I was able to get it to a very comfortable fit – even with a sleeping bag (for bulk at the bottom) and two 7kg tents (for weight) added to the pack.
I’ll write some more about the pack once I’ve had experience packing it and traveling with it – 80L is more than we’ll need, but it has compression straps to take up any slack. It also has an expansion gusset to give it even more room – but I’m not sure if the 80L includes that hidden space or if it is actually extra! Either way – we now have plenty of room for souvenirs (something I’ve been trying to avoid !!!)